Despite a few loud, uniformed voices clamoring the opposite, Jerry Dipoto has done a decent job of adding young talent to the Mariners organization. Perhaps his most lauded addition came in the second round of the 2017 MLB Draft.
Of course, most agreed the Mariners hit a home run with the selection of Kyle Lewis in 2016, but that felt like a lot of lucky bounces going Dipoto’s way. However, when Dipoto and company selected Sam Carlson in the second round of the 2017 draft, the “industry” heaped praise on the Mariners.
Carlson was ranked as the 15th best draft prospect on MLB Pipeline the day of the draft, but signability concerns dropped him out of the first round. Thankfully, the Mariners had done their homework and knew they could sign him. They selected him with the 55th pick, and signed him to a $2 million signing bonus.
On the field, it was not difficult to see why Carlson had middle of the first round grades coming out of high school. Carlson has a hard sinking fastball that sits at 92 MPH. He can hit 97 mph on occasion.
Along with the heater, Carlson has an above-average slider and changeup. He throws the slider for strikes, and can use it to miss bats. Unlike many prep prospects, Carlson already has a good changeup, and isn’t afraid to use. He throws it with good arm speed, and it has good fade and sink.
Carlson is a plus athlete. Recruited by Florida to be a starter, Carlson was athletic enough to play in the outfield, if he had so chosen. His athleticism shows in his mechanics. Carlson has a simple wind up and delivery, and has no issues repeating it.
Scouts believe that Carlson could have more projection in his game as he fills out. At 6’4″, 195 lbs, Some see room to add strength, thus raising his ceiling.
Scouting Grades (20-80)- Fastball: 60 Slider:55 Changeup: 60 Control:55 Overall:55
Most see Carlson as a solid #3 type in the big leagues. Of course, if he continues to refine his pitches, and can add some good weight to his frame, he could project as a top of the rotation arm.
The Mariners system is low on these impact, starting arms, but Carlson has a legitimate shot to climb into the Top 100 prospects list this time next year. He will likely start the year in A-Ball, and stay there most of the year. Seattle has no reason to rush the 19-year-old. However, if everything clicks, and he can avoid injury, we could see him in Seattle by September of 2020.